Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements — 2024

December 11, 2023

stanford transfer acceptance rate

With only a 4% acceptance rate, getting into Stanford University out of high school is not exactly a high-probability outcome. Yet, for some rejected applicants, the dream of becoming a Cardinal is too powerful to let go of. If you fall into that category, there is still a sliver of hope (but we really mean a sliver!). Stanford does in fact welcome aboard an extremely limited number of transfer students each year. The following blog will reveal the Stanford transfer acceptance rate as well as other essential facts like the Stanford transfer deadline, the Stanford transfer application requirements, and much more.

Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate

Below we present the most current available Stanford transfer acceptance rate as well as historical data.

For entry in the fall of 2022, there were 3,141 applicants who applied for transfer and 57 were accepted. This means that the Stanford transfer acceptance rate is 1.8%. If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows:

  • Male Stanford transfer applicants: 1.9%
  • Female Stanford transfer applicants: 1.5%

For entry in the fall of 2021, there were 3,265 transfer applicants and 55 individuals were accepted. This means that the Stanford transfer acceptance rate was 1.7%.

When trying to get the complete picture of how difficult it is to transfer into a given institution, it is important to look at historical data. While many schools have wild fluctuations in transfer acceptance rates from year to year, you can see that Stanford’s have remained fairly stable in recent years. The only year with a notably different rate was 2020.

Historical transfer rates are as follows:

Year Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate
2020 3.9%
2019 1.0%
2018 1.1%
2017 1.4%

Stanford Transfer Deadline

For all academic programs, the Stanford transfer deadline is March 15.

There is also an optional Arts Portfolio that has a deadline of March 20.

The priority application deadline for financial aid is March 15.

Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Stanford Transfer Application Requirements

All students must submit the following items as part of their Stanford application:

  • A Common App for Transfer
  • Official college transcripts
  • Final high school transcripts
  • ACT or SAT scores (they are test-optional in 2023-24)
  • College report
  • Two letters of recommendation from college instructors
  • Portfolios (for some majors)

In addition to meeting the Stanford transfer requirements, students who have the best chance to gain admission to Stanford have done the following:

  • Completed two full years of college coursework. This is recommended by the university, but there is no official minimum credit requirement.
  • Published/co-published academic research independently or with a faculty member at your current institution.
  • Exceled outside of the classroom in some manner. In addition to the aforementioned research, this could mean winning an intercollegiate academic competition, achieving noteworthy accomplishments through some type of leadership role, etc.

Stanford Average Transfer GPA

This school does not reveal the average GPA for successful transfer students. However, in our experience working with Stanford transfers, you will have the best chance with a 3.9 or better. This is not to say that your chances are nonexistent with a GPA below that mark, but a 3.9-4.0 GPA will give you the most favorable odds.

Stanford Transfer Application Essays

Personal Statement

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. (250 to 650 words)


What piece of advice would you share with your younger self? Describe what experience or realization led you to this understanding. (50 to 150 words)

Short Questions

  1. What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 word limit)
  2. What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 word limit)
  3. What is the best compliment you have received? Who gave you this compliment? (50 word limit)
  4. List five things that are important to you. (500 character limit)

Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Short Essays

  1. The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words)
  2. Choose one of the two prompts below:
    1. Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — get to know you better. (100 to 250 words)
    2. Stanford’s community is an essential part of the undergraduate experience. How do you define community, and what contributions have you made to yours? (100 to 250 words)
  3. Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate to Stanford University. (100 to 250 words)

When Do Stanford Transfer Decisions Come Out?

Transfer decisions come out by mid-May.

Final Thoughts – Stanford Transfer Acceptance Rate

In a typical year, only 1 in 100 or 2 in 100 Stanford transfer applicants will be successful. It’s important to face these odds with a realistic mindset, as that will drive your other decision-making. For example, if you are someone intent on leaving your current school, you will want to apply to a number of “safety” and “target” schools in addition to Stanford. In reality, Stanford is a “reach” for every student—even those with perfect grades and test scores. However, we don’t want you to interpret having a “realistic” mindset as being synonymous with a “negative” mindset. After all, 50 or so applicants each year are ultimately successful. If you have strong credentials, there is nothing wrong with putting maximum effort into your application and multitude of essays. College Transitions has indeed worked with students who have successfully earned admission to Stanford as transfer applicants.

If you are looking for information on how to apply to Stanford as a first-year student, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:

Those searching for application info on other institutions may wish to visit our Dataverse pages: